• Friday, April 12, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Indian opposition leader sent to jail until April 15 in graft case

Arvind Kejriwal sent to jail until April 15 in a liquor graft case

Arvind Kejriwal speaks during the launch ceremony of ‘500 Aam Aadmi clinics’, a program to provide health care access in Punjab state, in Amritsar on January 27, 2023. (Photo by NARINDER NANU/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

AN Indian court sent Delhi chief minister and key opposition leader Arvind Kejriwal to jail until April 15 in a liquor graft case on Monday (1), local media reported, less than three weeks before the country begins voting in national elections.

India’s financial crime-fighting agency had arrested Kejriwal in connection with corruption allegations related to the city’s liquor policy and he had been remanded to the agency’s custody until April 1.

Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) says he has been “falsely arrested” in a “fabricated” case, but prime minister Narendra Modi’s government and his Bharatiya Janata Party deny political interference.

Lawyers for the agency said on Monday that Kejriwal had been “non-cooperative” and was “giving evasive replies” and asked the court to remand him to judicial custody for 15 days, news website Live Law reported.

Kejriwal blamed Modi for his arrest.

“What the prime minister is doing is not good for the country,” he told reporters on his way to court.

All the senior leaders of AAP were already imprisoned in the same graft case before Kejriwal’s arrest.

The action against the high-profile leader sparked protests in the capital and the northern state of Punjab, which is also governed by his party, last week.

The court’s decision comes a day after the INDIA bloc, an alliance of 27 opposition parties including AAP, came together at a rally in New Delhi to protest against Kejriwal’s arrest and accused Modi of seeking to rig the elections.

Besides AAP, several other opposition parties, including regional groups, are also facing action from federal agencies, which they say is “politically motivated”.

The country’s main opposition Congress party says it has been hit with large income tax demands which it says is an effort to “cripple it financially” before the elections.

Modi and the BJP have denied the allegations.

Kejriwal’s arrest has also drawn international attention, with the US and Germany urging a “fair” and “impartial” trial, causing New Delhi to strongly object by asking them to stay away from its “internal” affairs.

(Reuters)

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